Tag Archives: horses

Hike to the Pike

Erringden expanse

During the Spring Bank Holiday weekend, I had a particularly bad night on the Saturday. I lay sleepless until 4.00 a.m., when of course the sky brightened. The birds began their dawn chorus, annoyingly joined by the cockerel who lives nearby.  I did eventually sleep but fitfully.  Needless to say, I felt terrible on Sunday morning.  Phil wanted to go up to Stoodley Pike but I said “no way”.  I did manage to drag myself out in the afternoon for a bit of sun, noting that even the easterly wind felt warm.  Not really a day for climbing hills.  We pottered round town and the park, ate ice cream, and strolled up the towpath for a canal side pub meal which was nice.

Horses in golden fieldThankfully, I had a better sleep that night and awoke on Monday feeling refreshed.  I agreed to the planned trek, with the proviso that I might not make it all the way up to Stoodley Pike.

We had not reached the top since our mission in 2013 was thwarted by large cows lying in our way, causing an amusing detour up Dick’s Lane and Cock Hill.  Since then, we had discovered the lower delights of Horsehold Wood and Beaumont Clough thus negating the need for a steep climb.

Armed with supplies, we left the house mid-afternoon to climb up Horsehold Road.  Inevitably hard work I had to stop a few times but that gave us chance to look down towards town, where thick foliage prevented us from checking our roof tiles as we usually did.  Further up, the cobbles snaked between lush greenery.  Pretty horses grazed in a golden field.

First gate 2At the top, we followed the curve round to Horsehold Farm, became spooked by vicious barking from behind a crumbling wooden door, and searched for the right lane to go further up.  On locating Horsehold Lane, we were put off by very large cows in a field protected only by a low wall.  Phil swore they were like the bull on his Picasso t-shirt.  We returned to the curve and went left through the gate signed ‘Pennine way’ onto a beautiful path.

Being at the top of the wood, we remarked on the perpetual redness of the ground below on our right, no matter what the season.  Curly ferns emerged from verdant verges as we followed signs to the Pennine Bridleway.

Mysterious stones 2Through a copse and bypassing the cute stone bridge leading to the clough, we continued upwards into grassland. We wondered at the original purpose and location of mysterious stones scattered about – one looked distinctly phallic!

Ahead of us, a line of trees stood along a stone wall.  We turned right onto grassy lanes bisecting farmland and recognised an ancient ruin on the corner from our hike up five years ago.  We rested on a wall, admiring tiny pine cones on a tree opposite.

Noticing Stoodley Pike monument in view to our left, I said it wouldn’t be much further.

Pike in the distanceProceeding along Kilnshaw Lane towards the pike, it never seemed to get any nearer!  Eventually, we wound our way up the rough path as the monument loomed above us like a dark spectre silhouetted behind the early evening sun.  Further up, the path had been recently re-paved.  My camera dropped onto the stone slabs when the strap broke.  I persuaded Phil to wait until we sat down to assess the damage.

At the summit, a few people milled around as we found a lovely outcrop of sloping rocks facing Mankinholes to perch on.  Phil fixed the strap and made sure the camera still worked.  As we ate picnic snacks, a group of lads who had commandeered the monument marred the peace somewhat, playing loud music and commenting on veggie samosas. “How far is it from Hebden Bridge?” I heard one say, before answering himself: “Not far enough”.  Did they mean us? Thankfully, they soon left so we had the place to ourselves.

monument-graffiti-2.jpgI entered the monument and climbed the steps.  It was pitch black and I used my phone torch to light my way.  At the top, I discovered ancient graffiti etched into the granite, providing a foreground for the panoramic views.  I heard Phil calling from below asking how I’d got up.  I descended with my torchlight to meet him halfway.  Having taken in the vistas, we returned to ground level to circumnavigate the base.

I had used google maps to find a different way home and suggested a route staying ‘up tops’ awhile.  We followed the new paving in a straight line across a boggy field.  Our feet stayed dry thanks to thoughtful raised platforms constructed over the worst bits.  We emerged onto an apparently ancient road, separated from a pine forest by neat stone walls.  This stage of our journey was punctuated by the sights and sounds of wild birds.  Curlews wielded overhead.  A juvenile blackbird landed on a wooden fence post before flitting upwards in a flurry.

Old top road 1Arriving at a junction I checked the map. Google insisted we had gone the wrong way and suggested we backtrack.  But I felt confident that the old road wasn’t on the maps and knew that a left turn would join the suggested route.  I was further encouraged in my instincts as Heptonstall and Old Town were clearly recognisable ahead of.  We descended a desolate moorland path, beneath a wide blue sky scattered with small, fluffy clouds.  Reaching Whittaker Road, we walked eastwards until we came to a gate on our left.

Passing through, we discovered the gorgeous ‘Rake’.  Grass and flowers again surrounded us, as a sheep family grazed in a field and an archetypal farmhouse lay in front.

Rake 4As we descended, I was interrupted by a phone call which I curtailed as politely as possible, and suggested a stop to fully appreciate the scene.  As the lane curved round, we rested on the corner, looking westwards for a different view of the pike and ahead of us at the profusion of bilberry bushes.  I said it would be a good place to harvest when the fruits appeared.

Further down, the name of the lane changed to Broad lane.  Again, we were awestruck by beauty!  Trees in full leaf gave an avenue-like effect as the hedgerows were lined with cow parsley, their tiny white flowers swaying gently in the breeze.  We could hear people on the other side of the hedge.

Phil realised it was a campsite, then I spotted a poly tunnel and joked about illegal immigrants living in tents (maybe I watch too many Spanish dramas on Netflix).  As we wound down, we found ourselves on Horsehold Lane and had no option but to pass the field of large cows we’d avoided on the way up.  They looked quite docile and in spite of being eyed warily by a sheepdog, we passed through the farm without incident.  Back on Horsehold Road, I preferred going down rather than up, unlike Phil. I remarked that we had probably chosen the worse route possible to reach the pike. Maybe next time we should choose a less steep way.

 

More photos at: https://1drv.ms/f/s!AjkK19zVvfQtivtiSIs2Eb13PL8GzQ

Broad Lane

Eaves Wood in Snow

 

Black and white 1

Last Saturday we watched the snow falling and considered a walk.  However, we were put off by the cold, grey conditions.  After dark, the snow started melting.   So much for predictions of sub-zero temperatures and a crisp, white dawn!

Sunday started off equally cold and grey but we felt that we really ought to get out.  It started snowing again as we wrapped in layers and braved the elements.  We climbed the cuckoo steps, slowly.  At the top I already felt knackered and as the snow became heavier, I wondered aloud what the hell I was doing.  Phil said he just wanted to reach the ridge leading into Eaves Wood.  I agreed it would be a lovely scene and reluctantly followed.  On reaching the lovely path, we were greeted by an almost monochrome landscape – black hills and trees sprinkled with white against a grey sky, broken here and there by splashes of brown and red.

Black and red rock 3We continued up to Hell Hole Rocks and waited for a small child leading a family group down the steps behind before we ascended.  After another hard climb, we elected to travel along the path round to the bowling club.

Two girls were building an enormous snowman in their garden.  “That’ll be a snow giant!” I told them.

 

Forlorn pairBy then I felt much better and was actually enjoying being out on the blustery tops.  As we rounded the field, two forlorn horses trotted over to us, probably hoping for apples.  Sadly, we had nothing to give them but appreciated the opportunity to take close-ups.

We continued up Acres Lane to St. Thomas’ churchyard and cut through the church where I pointed out the Last Supper painting to Phil.

In Heptonstall village, I suggested calling on a friend.  She invited us in for a cuppa and we had a lovely time chatting until I noticed it was getting dark and time to head down the hill.  Heading down the road in the darkening, we admired views of snow and lights in the town below us (very Christmassy!).  Returning back down the cuckoo steps, I lost my footing slightly but it was due to slippery leaves rather than snow and ice.

Snowy church ruin 2

More photos at:  https://1drv.ms/f/s!AjkK19zVvfQtiuZDZ3ZmpbKTyS2ziA

Blackshaw Head and Rawtenstall

blackshaw-head-snowy-gate

 

Mid-January snowfall rendered the landscape picture-perfect.  While the snow looked scrappy down in the valley, we guessed it would still be sparkling ‘up tops’.  We took advantage of a sunny Saturday to plan an outing with Marisa.  Armed with coffee and cake, we caught the bus upwards and chatted to an old friend as it made its way up Heptonstall Road.  As she alighted, Marisa got on.  We continued upwards, admiring the snowy scenes in the lovely sunshine.  At Blackshaw Head we paused to look at a black and white sheep in front of a barn.  They stared back at us until they got bored.  Next to their field, we noted a beautiful old gate and tracks in the snow.

blackshaw-head-marsh-lane-4We entered the chapel grounds opposite, enjoying the feel of ‘proper snow’ under our feet before emerging onto Badger Lane.  Continuing on the now-familiar route down Marsh Lane and Winter Lane, we took in views of scudding clouds and Stoodley Pike while avoiding icy patches.

We continued along the Pennine Bridleway towards Lower Rawtenstall as far as the ‘stone doorway’, to sit on a bench overlooking the valley.

Phil commented that is was a gorgeous view of the sewage works!

 

rawtenstall-manor-2We ate our supplies before going back up to the corner where we turned right onto Dark Lane.  The way proved dodgy in places with ice, snow and mud meaning I lagged behind the others.

En route, Marisa pointed out what was once Rawtenstall Manor.

 

 

 

At the second farm along, we dropped south again onto a lovely grassy path edged by hawthorns (thus obviously pretty old).  It wended down, skirting Knott Wood, to Turret Hall Road.  I looked back to note that the shrubs created a picturesque arch over the path.  From there, we took Oakville Road down to the main road into town.  A rise in temperature meant that ice on the main routes was no longer slippy making for a speedy last leg of our journey.

More photos at: https://1drv.ms/f/s!AjkK19zVvfQtie9MFLKWh7EzLl61IQ

rawtenstall-path-with-arch-1

Peace and Tranquility in Slack and Colden

harvest

A mid-September Sunday, we caught the bus upwards.  Alighting at Slack Top, crows, horses and harvesting added to the pastoral scene.  Behind the fields, the church tower peeked out amid the tree line, as if it was growing out of the hills.  .

vanishing-point-1We crossed the road to examine the milestone and interesting signs.

Walking through Popples Common, we marvelled at strange carved stones and at the view towards the vanishing point, redolent of the mid-west.

 

 

As we reached the brow, we turned up Crack Hill (with inevitable chuckles!) and walked along Edge Lane, enjoying the tranquil scenes with grouse in a field, old ruins and gate posts.

mays-shop-8At May’s Farm Shop we bought cheese pies to eat on the picnic bench outside.

I strolled around the farm buildings and snuck in the old cow shed to look at ancient stalls and interesting junk.

We then backtracked along Edge Lane until we came to a sign pointing down towards ‘Pennine Way’ and ‘Hebble Hole’.

wooden-gate-2The path looked very old and narrow, edged with dressed stone, wooden fence posts and rickety gates.  We crossed Colden road once more and continued following the signs.

This took us over gates and styals, round the side of a large house and down through more fields.

 

 

We arrived at a flight of steep small steps.  Water and mud made them potentially treacherous.  Descending carefully, we emerged just above the bridge at Hebble Hole.  Traversing the bridge, we had the glade to ourselves for once.  We sat peacefully, admiring trees and reflections in the water – like fairyland.  We then crossed back over the bridge and took the familiar quick route home through the clough.

More photos at: https://1drv.ms/f/s!AjkK19zVvfQtiM1othXhKZcNEcrHJA

trees-with-reflections-2

 

A Detour to Pecket Well

Pecket Well Clough packhorse trail 7

Despite the development (yet again) of symptoms that often presaged the onset of sinusitis, I was determined to not give in.   It was the first day of spring and a gorgeous sunny one at that. I looked forward to Marisa coming round for coffee followed by an afternoon outing. She was also suffering. With a frozen shoulder, and we spent some time comparing health notes over coffee and biscuits.

Approaching Hollings 3The three of us then set off via the local bakers, for Foster Mill Bridge. I mentioned an article I read in a recent issue of Valley Life about a walk via the path upwards and as we chatted, I realised it led to the hamlet of Hollins on the way to Hareshaw wood. Marisa suggested we walk up that way and although we had only done so three weeks ago, we agreed.

 

We ascended the broad, cobbled steps at a leisurely pace before taking a similar route through the hamlet and the woods.  Descending near ‘little Switzerland’, we  crossed Hebden Water and took the flight of steps up to Midgehole Road and along to the public WCs.

Pecket Well Clough tree roots 2From there, we headed behind the toilet block and instead of going straight into Crimsworth Dean, took a path to the right and descended upwards into Pecket Well Clough. Like Crimsworth Dean, this forms part of the National Trust Hardcastle Crags estate, but feels a world away. The old packhorse trail leads steadily upwards, through beech woods.

At this time of year, the trees displayed a stark beauty. Brown and grey dominated, occasionally broken up with patches of green.  The mostly bare ground allowed impressive tree roots to show through along the route.

Pecket Well Clough packhorse bridge 1At the top of the clough, we came across a lovely stone bridge where two streams conjoined. We picked our way across a mulchy flat bank to find a suitable rock for our picnic. Marisa made several archaeological finds including what looked like melted glass and broken pots. We posited that the area had been used by people going back hundreds of years.

 

Pecket Well monument 2Food and explorations over, we climbed another flight of steps to reach the WWI monument. I commented on the tete-a-tetes, which provided a splash of colour as we approached. We rested on the benches and surveyed the vistas. from there, we followed paths along the side of fields, passing newly planted trees, cute horses, and a rather fine old gate.

Pecket Well field with horses 3Marisa had recently discovered interesting facts about the history of gates and I told her she should start a blog about them!

Looking back, the monument stood in the foreground of a landscape with Heptonstall church and Stoodley Pike behind. We proceeded through Higher Crimsworth Farm and eventually onto Keighley Road. Walking passed the Wesleyan church and school house straddling the main road, we availed ourselves of ale and facilities at The Robin Hood Inn before taking the bus down into town.

More photos at: https://onedrive.live.com/redir?resid=2DF4BDD5DCD70A39!111038&authkey=!AL7UCa6R91JVs00&ithint=folder%2cPecket Well attractive gate with three sticks in background

Up to Old Town

Joan wood tree trunks 1

Joan wood stepsOn a sunny April evening, we headed to Nutclough for one of our favourite strolls up to Old Town.

Finding the path closed, we decided to try an alternative route that my walking friend had mentioned.

We walked a little further up Keighley Road and climbed a flight of stone steps into Joan Wood. We followed the path up and along through the small wood to another flight of steps.

I sarcastically commented that the new concrete steps blended almost seamlessly with the old ones!

Rock wall

Emerging onto Hurst road, we crossed over a stile and through a series of fields.

At the boundary of the second field, we could see Old Town mill a short distance away.

We rested on a rock wall to take in the views, from Heptonstall on the right to Dodnaze on the left.

We carried on up and admired the horses in front of the mill.

From there, we skirted round the mill and through the old part of the village onto Billy Lane.

Mill with horses 1More photos at: http://1drv.ms/1IVm31X